[11/15/2021] Fire Is Not a Country by Cynthia Dewi Oka
Triquarterly Books, paperback
Publication Date: November 15, 2021
Publisher Marketing: In her third collection, Indonesian American poet Cynthia Dewi Oka dives into the implications of being parents, children, workers, and unwanted human beings under the savage reign of global capitalism and resurgent nativism. With a voice bound and wrestled apart by multiple histories, Fire Is Not a Country claims the spaces between here and there, then and now, us and not us.
As she builds a lyric portrait of her own family, Oka interrogates how migration, economic exploitation, patriarchal violence, and a legacy of political repression shape the beauties and limitations of familial love and obligation. Woven throughout are speculative experiments that intervene in the popular apocalyptic narratives of our time with the wit of an unassimilable other.
Oka's speakers mourn, labor, argue, digress, avenge, and fail, but they do not retreat. Born of conflicts public and private, this collection is for anyone interested in what it means to engage the multitudes within ourselves.